Erdoğan says Trump offered him to name the Armenian genocide a ‘war’

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said U.S. President Donald Trump had asked him whether it would be more suitable to use the word war instead of calling the mass deportation of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire in 1915 a genocide, pro-government daily Sabah reported on Friday.

The U.S. House of Representatives last week approved a resolution recognising the Armenian genocide, amid growing anger in the U.S. Congress against Turkey its military offensive in northern Syria.

Erdoğan and Trump will meet in Washington next week to discuss the ongoing situation in Syria as well as other issues that have been causing tensions between the two allies, including potential U.S. sanctions and an indictment charging Turkish state-run Halkbank with evading sanctions on Iran.

“I received some hints about our meeting with Mr. Trump the other night, but I believe that other clues will surface when we meet face to face,” Erdoğan said, referring to his phone conversation with Trump on Tuesday. 

The president said Turkey had grown tired of being threatened with the Armenian issue by the United States. 

“He in fact used such an expression, ‘Will it be suitable if we call it a war instead of a genocide,’ he said,” Erdoğan told reporters, referring to Trump. 

Erdoğan said that he had rejected the suggestion on the grounds that two states should counter each other to call something a war and that Armenians had in fact been subject to forced migration.

Erdoğan also said that during their conversation Trump had asked him what had happened in relation to genocide recognition attempts before his term as president.

“I will examine this and talk to my colleagues,” Erdoğan quoted Trump as saying to him, when the Turkish president explained that under previous administrations the commissions in the U.S. Congress had declined such resolutions, but this time the commission had been bypassed.